Guide to Farm Equipment Maintenance

Guide to Farm Equipment Maintenance

Every farmer knows the importance of having quality farming equipment that is in good working order at all times. When something goes wrong, it can mean downtime and serious losses in productivity, crops, and income. A malfunctioning tractor, combine or another piece of equipment can mean an extra trip for repairs or waiting on a service call, all while getting behind on important farm chores. 

Fortunately, keeping up with preventative maintenance of farm equipment can help prevent some of these disturbances, keeping your farm running smoothly and decreasing downtime. 

10 Farm Equipment Maintenance Tips 

Proper maintenance of farm machinery and equipment is crucial, and we've gathered some of our favorite maintenance tips to help you remain organized and keep your equipment in optimal shape. Follow these maintenance tips to protect your farm equipment:

1. Keep All Documents Organized 

Whether you use a home office, a shed or a corner of a barn, make sure you have an organized system for keeping any records and documents — including receipts, owner's manuals, dealership information, warranties and service records. Keep accurate records of all repairs and maintenance work, whether you perform it yourself or hire a professional. 

Create a farm equipment maintenance checklist for regular tasks that should be completed monthly or annually. You can also make a chart to plan any upcoming maintenance routines, and keep it displayed on the wall. Use a filing system for all other records and documents. 

2. Perform Regular Oil Changes 

Many types of farm equipment need similar maintenance performed on regular schedules, just like your car. Tractors and other machines also need regular oil changes to keep running optimally, so be sure to keep up a regular schedule of oil changes for all your farm equipment. Be sure to check any oil filters and replace them as recommended by the manufacturer. 

While you are doing oil changes, consider having a professional oil analysis done. This is a simple test that can diagnose and prevent larger issues down the road. All you need to do is bring in a small oil sample to your dealer for testing. 

3. Lubricate Moving Parts 

Farm machinery is complex, with many moving parts. Keep your equipment in good working order by lubricating all moving parts regularly. The frequency may depend on your local climate and the manufacturer's recommendations. 

4. Check All Hitches and Tires 

Regularly inspect trailer hitches and the couplings on all trailers and equipment that you pull, as well as on any tractors, trucks or ATVs that you use to pull the equipment. Ensure these parts are working properly and can securely connect. Clean off any excess dirt or rust, if possible.

Having quality tires that are inflated properly helps your machines run more efficiently, and it can save you a bit on gas mileage.

In addition, inspect the tires on all your farm machinery. Check the treads for signs of wear, and make sure tires are all inflated to the recommended level. Don't forget about the spare tires during your check-ins, and make arrangements to replace any tires that are worn out. Having quality tires that are inflated properly helps your machines run more efficiently, and it can save you a bit on gas mileage. 

5. Inspect Any Lights on the Vehicles and the Batteries 

Check all brake lights, signal lights and any other lighting on your equipment. Attach trailers and ensure all lights are working on these as well. If you have another person help you complete this task, it may be easier and quicker. Properly working lights ensure your equipment operates safely.

Inside the equipment, watch for signs of corrosion on any of your batteries. This can lead to stalling and loss of power to the vehicle. Check batteries to make sure they are charged, if possible. If you have some equipment that is only used seasonally, consider storing the batteries indoors while the machinery is not in use —especially if you don't have room indoors for the whole vehicle. This can protect your batteries' life spans. 

6. Calibrate Special Equipment 

If you use devices that have thermometers, scales, metal detectors or other specialized equipment, make sure to check the devices and recalibrate at regular intervals to keep everything safe and accurate. 

7. Keep Machinery Clean 

This may seem counterproductive on a farm, where everything tends to get dirty constantly, but occasionally cleaning off your farm equipment can help protect it. This is especially important at the end of a season or right before storing the equipment to prevent staining and rust spots from forming. You can use a broom to gently brush away debris like grass or hay on things like hay equipment, and then use a hose to wash off any accumulated dirt and dust. 

8. Inspect for Damage 

Farm machinery handles a lot and can easily be damaged from regular use. After every use, or at least before storing and at regular intervals, inspect your equipment for any signs of damage. Loose pieces, strange noises and other telltale signs of damage indicate that maintenance may be required. It's best to take care of these issues before they become worse problems. 

9. Store Equipment Indoors When Possible 

Preventative maintenance of farm tools and equipment also involves keeping them protected from the elements. If you have a garage or barn for your equipment, this is the best option for proper storage when not in use. If you do not have room to store equipment inside, consider other options, such as an overhang, that can keep rain and snow off the machinery. 

If the equipment must stay outside, you can cover it with tarps to offer some protection. Anything you can do to protect your equipment from the weather can help preserve your investment and keep it running much longer. 

10. Avoid Customizing or Modifying Engines

For many farmers, it can be tempting to try to attempt larger repairs themselves or modify farm equipment to better suit their purposes. While this may have worked with older equipment, today's machines have internal computers and complicated parts that can be easily damaged with modifications. Additionally, this type of "fix" is likely to void any warranties you may have, and it is not recommended by manufacturers and dealers. If you are wondering about a specific modification, check with your dealer first for solutions. 

Farm Equipment Services From Holt Ag Solutions

Farm Equipment Services From Holt Ag Solutions

You know the importance of the proper maintenance of agricultural machinery and equipment, and we do too. Even with the best preventative maintenance, breakdowns still happen and problems occur. This is when it's best to have a professional service technician take a look. At Holt Ag Solutions, we have the experience and knowledge to accurately and quickly diagnose and fix your farm maintenance issue. Learn more about our farm equipment services online, or contact us today to request service for your farm equipment.